Who: Courtney and James
What: A casually chic celebration for 180 focused on family, and !fun! in a sprawling Scarborough field
Where: Backyard ceremony and tented reception at the bride's family home in Scarborough
When: Saturday, August 22
How: Pre-wedding pampering including hair and makeup at Paridiso Salon and Spa in Portland, bridal gown from Spoil Me Rotten (previously in Portland and just moved to Falmouth), pearls from Portland's Portia Clark, catering from the Kitchen Chicks, tent and other reception related rentals (tables, chairs, plates, etc.) from One Stop Party Shoppe, cupcakes from the European Bakery and fantastic not-a-single-guest-left-sitting-in-their-seat entertainment from The Waiters.
Why: When Courtney was a sophomore at North Yarmouth Academy, she dotingly divulged to her diary the following three lists: 1.) Who I want to go to prom with... 2.) Who I really want to go to prom with... 3.) Who I really, really want to go to prom with. The first list had six or so names on it, the second half that and the third, just one. James Garrett made every one of them.
And so, it was no surprise that when he asked her to the prom, Courtney giddily gave him a yes! 12 full years - including the past three where they were divided by distance as he was in Vermont at law school and she in Maine, completing her Master's at UNE and beginning her work as a physician's assistant- the two high school sweethearts were married in a celebration that was as tasteful and timeless and thoughtful as even the most fabulous of proms can only dream of dreaming of being.
Beneath a sinister sky that rained and raged until bursting with beautiful light only minutes before they exchanged vows, Courtney and James celebrated a marriage 12 years in the making with a gentle and grateful glee that reflected both their humility and their hearts. Sweeter souls you will not meet, and that was showcased in the sentiments expressed by them about each other, and by every one of the guests who gathered to fete their enduring friendship.
When Courtney's mom first contacted me this winter, she knew two things- that the wedding would be on September 12 and that it most definitely would not be held at home. But both those plans changed, as they shifted their date to meet my shooting schedule, and finally settled on having the wedding at Court's childhood home in Scarborough, where she so wanted it to be and where 12 years ago, she daringly dreamed about having James as date to the most important of dances.
There were sweet little reminders -both via sound and sight- that all four sisters were back home for the wedding.
Court got dressed in her parent's room with the help of her mother and three sisters. I loved her simple pink flats.
When I talk to my brides on their wedding day, they consistently cite how surreal it is to look around and realize that all these people are here for them! That feeling of having the family and friends you love most in the world coming together, to celebrate you and the person most important to you and what you've created together is such an awesomely overwhelming one, and I think it's often realize when the bride walks down the aisle and sees the entirety of that group of guests for that first time.
An overview of the ceremony. With Hurricane Bill looming, the sky was constantly changing throughout the ceremony, from that blank overcast to completely cloudless and blue to a rather menacing gray and then to buttery sunlight. It was tough to keep up with, but luckily the rain that poured down only minutes prior, ceased for the ceremony.
The bride's sister Hayley sang during the ceremony, ensuring my streak of crying at every wedding stayed alive!
A decade after they began dating, officially married! I love their excitement here!
And, another fist pump for good measure. Absolutely adorable! (And notice that baby blue sky and glittering gold light- definitely a sign!)
When I first started shooting weddings, I have to admit I was no fan of the receiving line. I (unwarrantably) worried that it took too much away from my alloted time with the couple and their families for whatever portraits needed to be done, thus creating a crunch when it came to getting everyone to the reception on time. These days, I consider a receiving line (preferably outdoors) one of my favorite parts of the wedding. Not only does it provide my couple a chance to connect with all of their guests without the stress of having to make it around to all the tables during dinner, but the reactions and the interactions are just so, so genuine and real because there is no time to be anything but.
Speaking of genuine reactions, this flower girl was only a few formals in and suddenly decided she was shy. I think it's outtakes like these that become some of the most important images of the day. And don't you love those polka dot dresses!
You can tell I am out of blogging practice because I've been using that "speaking of" segue far too often in this post, but... speaking of dresses I love, these gray ones were one of those for sure favorites this season. Given the bright colors embraced in other wedding day details like the flowers, reception linens and the setting itself with bold blues (sky), greens (grass) and reds (barn), an understated gray actually made quite the statement!
So striking to me was the bond between these four sisters, who were connected by commonalities like their grace, humor and thoughtfulness, while still having such strong senses of self. When the quartet came together, laughter soon followed. I think these images showcase their spirit and silliness, as did their mother, who sent me the sweetest thank-you and specifically mentioned these images (forgive the slight cropping to fit them into this format) as ones she and her husband will especially treasure.
The bride and groom...
Instead of simply selecting one or two, Courtney and James choose a collage of wedding colors and connected them in the most tasteful of ways. While the table linens were white, each table had different color and patterned napkins, handmade by the bride and her mom featuring fabrics fantastic and fun and fashionable. And the loose wildflowers completely complimented the colorful bohemian chic look.
The seating cards actually featured a circular swatch of the same fabric featured on that person's napkin. What an original and imaginative idea. The creativity of my clients continues to inspire me!
Unabashed joy during the first dance.
In her toast -given on behalf of the three sisters-, Court's sister Lizzie divulged what she'd read when discovering Courtney's high school diary, featuring the aforementioned prom date wish list. (Given that some of the others besides James were on the wish list, it went over especially well (and by well, I mean uncontrollable laughing and hooting).
Courtney and James already felt affirmed in their relationship, and so really envisioned their wedding day as a huge party in celebration of those who had so supported them as a couple, especially during her Master's studies - which she finished in 20080 and James' law school- finished this past spring. As a result, much of the night was dominated with dancing, and riotous dancing at that. The Waiters (and particularly lead single Evan King) rocked the tent until I thought the poles were going to pop out of the ground. It was total chaos! Enter my fisheye lens, which I think does the best job of setting the scene and showcasing the shenanigans in a such a packed place. Too fun!
Congratulations, Courtney and James on making official the love you've lived with and for since you were sixteen. I hope your honeymoon in Greece is the first of many awesome adventures you'll share. Dinner at the Front Room, and soon! And a special e-hug as a token of thanks to my July 2008 bride Emily, for her referral. Keep them coming ;)